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New media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, and creative participation. Another aspect of new media is the real-time generation of new and unregulated content.
Most technologies described as "new media" are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible, and interactive. Some examples may be the Internet, websites, computer multimedia, video games, CD-ROMS, and DVDs. New media does not include television programs, feature films, magazines, books, or paper-based publications – unless they contain technologies that enable digital interactivity. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is an example, combining Internet accessible digital text, images and video with web-links, creative participation of contributors, interactive feedback of users and formation of a participant community of editors and donors for the benefit of non-community readers. Facebook is an example of the social media model, in which most users are also participants.
In the 1960s, connections between computing and radical art began to grow stronger. It was not until the 1980s that Alan Kay and his co-workers at Xerox PARC began to give the computability of a personal computer to the individual, rather than have a big organization be in charge of this. "In the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, we seem to witness a different kind of parallel relationship between social changes and computer design. Although causally unrelated, conceptually it makes sense that the Cold War and the design of the Web took place at exactly the same time."
Writers and philosophers such as Marshall McLuhan were instrumental in the development of media theory during this period. His now famous declaration in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964) that "the medium is the message" drew attention to the too often ignored influence media and technology themselves, rather than their "content," have on humans' experience of the world and on society broadly.
Until the 1980s media relied primarily upon print and analog broadcast models, such as those of television and radio. The last twenty-five years have seen the rapid transformation into media which are predicated upon the use of digital technologies, such as the Internet and video games. However, these examples are only a small representation of new media. The use of digital computers has transformed the remaining 'old' media, as suggested by the advent of digital television and online publications. Even traditional media forms such as the printing press have been transformed through the application of technologies such as image manipulation software like Adobe Photoshop and desktop publishing tools.
Andrew L. Shapiro (1999) argues that the "emergence of new, digital technologies signals a potentially radical shift of who is in control of information, experience and resources" (Shapiro cited in Croteau and Hoynes 2003: 322). W. Russell Neuman (1991) suggests that whilst the "new media" have technical capabilities to pull in one direction, economic and social forces pull back in the opposite direction. According to Neuman, "We are witnessing the evolution of a universal interconnected network of audio, video, and electronic text communications that will blur the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication and between public and private communication" (Neuman cited in Croteau and Hoynes 2003: 322). Neuman argues that new media will:
- Alter the meaning of geographic distance.
- Allow for a huge increase in the volume of communication.
- Provide the possibility of increasing the speed of communication.
- Provide opportunities for interactive communication.
- Allow forms of communication that were previously separate to overlap and interconnect.
Consequently it has been the contention of scholars such as Douglas Kellner and James Bohman that new media, and particularly the Internet, provide the potential for a democratic postmodern public sphere, in which citizens can participate in well informed, non-hierarchical debate pertaining to their social structures. Contradicting these positive appraisals of the potential social impacts of new media are scholars such as Ed Herman and Robert McChesney who have suggested that the transition to new media has seen a handful of powerful transnational telecommunications corporations who achieve a level of global influence which was hitherto unimaginable.
Scholars, such as Lister et al. (2003), have highlighted both the positive and negative potential and actual implications of new media technologies, suggesting that some of the early work into new media studies was guilty of technological determinism – whereby the effects of media were determined by the technology themselves, rather than through tracing the complex social networks which governed the development, funding, implementation and future development of any technology.
Based on the argument that people have a limited amount of time to spend on the consumption of different media, Displacement theory argue that the viewership or readership of one particular outlet leads to the reduction in the amount of time spent by the individual on another. The introduction of New Media, such as the internet, therefore reduces the amount of time individuals would spend on existing “Old” Media, which could ultimately lead to the end of such traditional media.
Although there are several ways that New Media may be described, Lev Manovich, in an introduction to The New Media Reader, defines New Media by using eight propositions:
- New Media versus Cyberculture – Cyberculture is the various social phenomena that are associated with the Internet and network communications (blogs, online multi-player gaming), whereas New Media is concerned more with cultural objects and paradigms (digital to analog television, iPhones).
- New Media as Computer Technology Used as a Distribution Platform – New Media are the cultural objects which use digital computer technology for distribution and exhibition. e.g. (at least for now) Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, Blu-ray disks etc. The problem with this is that the definition must be revised every few years. The term "new media" will not be "new" anymore, as most forms of culture will be distributed through computers.
- New Media as Digital Data Controlled by Software – The language of New Media is based on the assumption that, in fact, all cultural objects that rely on digital representation and computer-based delivery do share a number of common qualities. New media is reduced to digital data that can be manipulated by software as any other data. Now media operations can create several versions of the same object. An example is an image stored as matrix data which can be manipulated and altered according to the additional algorithms implemented, such as color inversion, gray-scaling, sharpening, rasterizing, etc.
- New Media as the Mix Between Existing Cultural Conventions and the Conventions of Software – New Media today can be understood as the mix between older cultural conventions for data representation, access, and manipulation and newer conventions of data representation, access, and manipulation. The "old" data are representations of visual reality and human experience, and the "new" data is numerical data. The computer is kept out of the key "creative" decisions, and is delegated to the position of a technician. e.g. In film, software is used in some areas of production, in others are created using computer animation.
- New Media as the Aesthetics that Accompanies the Early Stage of Every New Modern Media and Communication Technology – While ideological tropes indeed seem to be reappearing rather regularly, many aesthetic strategies may reappear two or three times ... In order for this approach to be truly useful it would be insufficient to simply name the strategies and tropes and to record the moments of their appearance; instead, we would have to develop a much more comprehensive analysis which would correlate the history of technology with social, political, and economical histories or the modern period.
- New Media as Faster Execution of Algorithms Previously Executed Manually or through Other Technologies – Computers are a huge speed-up of what were previously manual techniques. e.g. calculators. Dramatically speeding up the execution makes possible previously non-existent representational technique. This also makes possible of many new forms of media art such as interactive multimedia and video games. On one level, a modern digital computer is just a faster calculator, we should not ignore its other identity: that of a cybernetic control device.
- New Media as the Encoding of Modernist Avant-Garde; New Media as Metamedia – Manovich declares that the 1920s are more relevant to New Media than any other time period. Metamedia coincides with postmodernism in that they both rework old work rather than create new work. New media avant-garde is about new ways of accessing and manipulating information (e.g. hypermedia, databases, search engines, etc.). Meta-media is an example of how quantity can change into quality as in new media technology and manipulation techniques can recode modernist aesthetics into a very different postmodern aesthetics.
- New Media as Parallel Articulation of Similar Ideas in Post-WWII Art and Modern Computing – Post WWII Art or "combinatorics" involves creating images by systematically changing a single parameter. This leads to the creation of remarkably similar images and spatial structures. This illustrates that algorithms, this essential part of new media, do not depend on technology, but can be executed by humans.
Globalization and new media
The rise of new media has increased communication between people all over the world and the Internet. It has allowed people to express themselves through blogs, websites, pictures, and other user-generated media.
Flew (2002) stated that, "as a result of the evolution of new media technologies, globalization occurs." Globalization is generally stated as "more than expansion of activities beyond the boundaries of particular nation states". Globalization shortens the distance between people all over the world by the electronic communication (Carely 1992 in Flew 2002) and Cairncross (1998) expresses this great development as the "death of distance". New media "radically break the connection between physical place and social place, making physical location much less significant for our social relationships" (Croteau and Hoynes 2003: 311).
However, the changes in the new media environment create a series of tensions in the concept of "public sphere". According to Ingrid Volkmer, "public sphere" is defined as a process through which public communication becomes restructured and partly disembedded from national political and cultural institutions. This trend of the globalized public sphere is not only as a geographical expansion form a nation to worldwide, but also changes the relationship between the public, the media and state (Volkmer, 1999:123).
"Virtual communities" are being established online and transcend geographical boundaries, eliminating social restrictions. Howard Rheingold (2000) describes these globalised societies as self-defined networks, which resemble what we do in real life. "People in virtual communities use words on screens to exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk" (Rheingold cited in Slevin 2000: 91). For Sherry Turkle "making the computer into a second self, finding a soul in the machine, can substitute for human relationships" (Holmes 2005: 184). New media has the ability to connect like-minded others worldwide.
While this perspective suggests that the technology drives – and therefore is a determining factor – in the process of globalization, arguments involving technological determinism are generally frowned upon by mainstream media studies. Instead academics focus on the multiplicity of processes by which technology is funded, researched and produced, forming a feedback loop when the technologies are used and often transformed by their users, which then feeds into the process of guiding their future development.
While commentators such as Castells espouse a "soft determinism" whereby they contend that "Technology does not determine society. Nor does society script the course of technological change, since many factors, including individual inventiveness and entrpreneurialism, intervene in the process of scientific discovery, technical innovation and social applications, so the final outcome depends on a complex pattern of interaction. Indeed the dilemma of technological determinism is probably a false problem, since technology is society and society cannot be understood without its technological tools." (Castells 1996:5) This, however, is still distinct from stating that societal changes are instigated by technological development, which recalls the theses of Marshall McLuhan.
Manovich and Castells have argued that whereas mass media "corresponded to the logic of industrial mass society, which values conformity over individuality," (Manovich 2001:41) new media follows the logic of the postindustrial or globalized society whereby "every citizen can construct her own custom lifestyle and select her ideology from a large number of choices. Rather than pushing the same objects to a mass audience, marketing now tries to target each individual separately." (Manovich 2001:42).
Social movement media has a rich and storied history (see Agitprop) that has changed at a rapid rate since New Media became widely used. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation of Chiapas, Mexico were the first major movement to make widely recognized and effective use of New Media for communiques and organizing in 1994. Since then, New Media has been used extensively by social movements to educate, organize, share cultural products of movements, communicate, coalition build, and more. The WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity was another landmark in the use of New Media as a tool for social change. The WTO protests used media to organize the original action, communicate with and educate participants, and was used as an alternative media source. The Indymedia movement also developed out of this action, and has been a great tool in the democratization of information, which is another widely discussed aspect of new media movement. Some scholars even view this democratization as an indication of the creation of a "radical, socio-technical paradigm to challenge the dominant, neoliberal and technologically determinist model of information and communication technologies." A less radical view along these same lines is that people are taking advantage of the Internet to produce a grassroots globalization, one that is anti-neoliberal and centered on people rather than the flow of capital. Of course, some are also skeptical of the role of New Media in Social Movements. Many scholars point out unequal access to new media as a hindrance to broad-based movements, sometimes even oppressing some within a movement. Others are skeptical about how democratic or useful it really is for social movements, even for those with access.
New Media has also found a use with less radical social movements such as the Free Hugs Campaign. Using websites, blogs, and online videos to demonstrate the effectiveness of the movement itself. Along with this example the use of high volume blogs has allowed numerous views and practices to be more widespread and gain more public attention. Another example is the on-going Free Tibet Campaign, which has been seen on numerous websites as well as having a slight tie-in with the band Gorillaz in their Gorillaz Bitez clip featuring the lead singer 2D sitting with protesters at a Free Tibet protest. Another social change seen coming from New Media is trends in fashion and the emergence of subcultures such as Text Speak, Cyberpunk, and various others.
New Media has also recently become of interest to the global espionage community as it is easily accessible electronically in database format and can therefore be quickly retrieved and reverse engineered by national governments. Particularly of interest to the espionage community are Facebook and Twitter, two sites where individuals freely divulge personal information that can then be sifted through and archived for the automatic creation of dossiers on both people of interest and the average citizen.
Interactivity and new media
Interactivity has become a term for a number of new media use options evolving from the rapid dissemination of Internet access points, the digitalization of media, and media convergence. In 1984, Rice defined new media as communication technologies that enable or facilitate user-to-user interactivity and interactivity between user and information. Such a definition replaces the "one-to-many" model of traditional mass communication with the possibility of a "many-to-many" web of communication. Any individual with the appropriate technology can now produce his or her online media and include images, text, and sound about whatever he or she chooses. Thus the convergence of new methods of communication with new technologies shifts the model of mass communication, and radically reshapes the ways we interact and communicate with one another. In "What is new media?" Vin Crosbie (2002) described three different kinds of communication media. He saw Interpersonal media as "one to one", Mass media as "one to many", and finally New Media as Individuation Media or "many to many".
When we think of interactivity and its meaning, we assume that it is only prominent in the conversational dynamics of individuals who are face-to-face. This restriction of opinion does not allow us to see its existence in mediated communication forums. Interactivity is present in some programming work, such as video games. It's also viable in the operation of traditional media. In the mid 1990s, filmmakers started using inexpensive digital cameras to create films. It was also the time when moving image technology had developed, which was able to be viewed on computer desktops in full motion. This development of new media technology was a new method for artists to share their work and interact with the big world. Other settings of interactivity include radio and television talk shows, letters to the editor, listener participation in such programs, and computer and technological programming. Interactive new media has become a true benefit to every one because people can express their artwork in more than one way with the technology that we have today and there is no longer a limit to what we can do with our creativity.
Interactivity can be considered a central concept in understanding new media, but different media forms possess different degrees of interactivity, and some forms of digitized and converged media are not in fact interactive at all. Tony Feldman considers digital satellite television as an example of a new media technology that uses digital compression to dramatically increase the number of television channels that can be delivered, and which changes the nature of what can be offered through the service, but does not transform the experience of television from the user's point of view, and thus lacks a more fully interactive dimension. It remains the case that interactivity is not an inherent characteristic of all new media technologies, unlike digitization and convergence.
Terry Flew (2005) argues that "the global interactive games industry is large and growing, and is at the forefront of many of the most significant innovations in new media" (Flew 2005: 101). Interactivity is prominent in these online video games such as World of Warcraft, The Sims Online and Second Life. These games, which are developments of "new media," allow for users to establish relationships and experience a sense of belonging that transcends traditional temporal and spatial boundaries (such as when gamers logging in from different parts of the world interact). These games can be used as an escape or to act out a desired life. Will Wright, creator of The Sims, "is fascinated by the way gamers have become so attached to his invention-with some even living their lives through it". New media have created virtual realities that are becoming virtual extensions of the world we live in. With the creation of Second Life and Active Worlds before it, people have even more control over this virtual world, a world where anything that a participant can think of can become a reality.
New Media changes continuously because it is constantly modified and redefined by the interaction between users, emerging technologies, cultural changes, etc.
The new media industry shares an open association with many market segments in areas such as software/video game design, television, radio, and particularly movies, advertising and marketing, through which industry seeks to gain from the advantages of two-way dialogue with consumers primarily through the Internet. As a device to source the ideas, concepts, and intellectual properties of the general public, the television industry has used new media and the Internet to expand their resources for new programming and content. The advertising industry has also capitalized on the proliferation of new media with large agencies running multi-million dollar interactive advertising subsidiaries. Interactive websites and kiosks have become popular. In a number of cases advertising agencies have also set up new divisions to study new media. Public relations firms are also taking advantage of the opportunities in new media through interactive PR practices. Interactive PR practices include the use of social media to reach a mass audience of online social network users.
Youth and new media
Based on nationally representative data, a study conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation in five-year intervals in 1998–99, 2003–04, and 2008–09 found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among Black and Hispanic youth. Today, 8–18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week) – about the same amount most adults spend at work per day. Since much of that time is spent 'media multitasking' (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to spend a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content in those 7½ hours per day. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 96% of 18–29 year olds and three-quarters (75%) of teens now own a cell phone, 88% of whom text, with 73% of wired American teens using social networking websites, a significant increase from previous years. A survey of over 25000 9- to 16-year-olds from 25 European countries found that many underage children use social media sites despite the site's stated age requirements, and many youth lack the digital skills to use social networking sites safely.
The role of cellular phones, such as the iPhone, has created the inability to be in complete solitude, and the potential of ruining relationships. The iPhone activates the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love. People show similar feelings to their phones as they would to their friends, family and loved ones. Countless people spend more time on their phones, while in the presence of other people than spending time with the people in the same room or class.
New Media and Political Campaigns in the United States
In trying to determine the impact of new media on political campaigning and electioneering, the existing research has tried to examine whether new media supplants conventional media. Television is still the dominant news source, but new media’s reach is growing. What is known is that: New media has had a significant impact on elections and what began in the 2008 presidential campaign established new standards for how campaigns would be run. Since then, campaigns also have their outreach methods by developing targeted messages for specific audiences that can be reached via different social media platforms. Both parties have specific digital media strategies designed for voter outreach. Additionally, their websites are socially connected, engaging voters before, during, and after elections. Email and text messages are also regularly sent to supporters encouraging them to donate and get involved. Some existing research focuses on the ways that political campaigns, parties, and candidates have incorporated new media into their political strategizing. This is often a multi-faceted approach that combines new and old media forms to create highly specialized strategies. This allows them to reach wider audiences, but also to target very specific subsets of the electorate. They are able to tap into polling data and in some cases harness the analytics of the traffic and profiles on various social media outlets to get real-time data about the kinds of engagement that is needed and the kinds of messages that are successful or unsuccessful. One body of existing research into the impact of new media on elections investigates the relationship between voters’ use of new media and their level of political activity. They focus on areas such as “attentiveness, knowledge, attitudes, orientations, and engagement” (Owen, 2011). In references a vast body of research, Owen (2011) points out that older studies were mixed, while “newer research reveals more consistent evidence of information gain”.
Some of that research has shown that there is a connection between the amount and degree of voter engagement and turnout (Owen, 2011). However, new media may not have overwhelming effects on either of those. Other research is tending toward the idea that new media has reinforcing effect, that rather than completely altering, by increasing involvement, it “imitates the established pattern of political participation” (Nam, 2012). After analyzing the Citizenship Involvement Democracy survey, Nam (2012) found that “the internet plays a a dual role in mobilizing political participation by people not normally politically involved, as well as reinforcing existing offline participation.” These findings chart a middle ground between some research that optimistically holds new media up to be an extremely effective or extremely ineffective at fostering political participation 
Towner (2013) found, in his survey of college students, that attention to new media increases offline and online political participation particularly for young people. His research shows that the prevalence of online media boosts participation and engagement. His work suggests that “it seems that online sources that facilitate political involvement, communication, and mobilization, particularly campaign websites, social media, and blogs, are the most important for offline political participation among young people”. Deliberation When gauging effects and implications of new media on the political process, one means of doing so is to look at the deliberations that take place in these digital spaces (Halpern & Gibbs, 2013). In citing the work of several researchers, Halpern and Gibbs (2003) define deliberation to be “the performance of a set of communicative behaviors that promote thorough discussion. and the notion that in this process of communication the individuals involved weigh carefully the reasons for and against some of the propositions presented by others”.
The work of Halpern and Gibbs (2013) “suggest that although social media may not provide a forum for intensive or in-depth policy debate, it nevertheless provides a deliberative space to discuss and encourage political participation, both directly and indirectly”. Their work goes a step beyond that as well though because it shows that some social media sites foster a more robust political debate than do others such as Facebook which includes highly personal and identifiable access to information about users alongside any comments they may post on political topics. This is in contrast to sites like YouTube whose comments are often post anonymously.
- 2000s in the music industry
- Collective intelligence
- Digital media
- Digital art
- Digital rhetoric
- Electronic media
- Global Editors Network (GEN)
- Information Age
- Interactive media
- Interactive PR
- Mass media
- Mass collaboration
- New media art
- New media artist
- New Media Film Festival
- New media studies
- Old media
- Residual media
- Social media
- User-generated content
- Web 2.0
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